East Hamilton’s boys played their second straight game without suspended head coach Rodney English on Thursday night at Van Buren County, and lost to the Eagles, 80-63. Assistant coach Zach Roddenberry again coach the Hurricanes.
On Tuesday, the Hurricanes defeated Bradley Central with English serving his first game away from the team in his four-plus years tenure due to the suspension that was handed down Monday.
The Hurricanes are 19-4 and host Walker Valley on Friday.
The East Hamilton girls, rebounding from a 63-36 loss at Bradley, clobbered Van Buren County, 77-37, in a record-setting offensive blitz. The Lady Canes led 32-7 after one quarter.
In an update to off-court controversy surrounding the boys’ team, Solomon Williams on Thursday morning sent a “letter of grievance” to Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County schools; East Hamilton principal Gail Chuy, athletic director Matt Thurman, school board member Joe Wingate and the Hamilton County Department of Education, Solomon Williams three times called English a “predator” and listed five requests on behalf of his family.
Williams also emailed the letter to Chattanoogan.com.
Here are a few excerpts from that letter:
“The situation after the game at Tyner (the game was played at East Hamilton) was just the tipping point of a culmination of events that had been revealed, reported and manipulatively twisted to downplay and swept aside to allow a PREDATOR to continue to operate under the guise of coaching. … I have text messages, emails, audio messages of how many parents are fed up and still afraid of coach Rodney English seemingly “teflon coach” posture being backed by the protection of the Godmother Principal Gail Chuy.”
Williams continued, “Next, question to each of you is what if this was your child(ren)? I’m hard pressed to believe for one second that any of you would tolerate these kinds of actions and furthermore I believe if this was your children Rodney English would not have only been removed but seating in a jail cell at this very moment.”
Then, Williams, who along with his son, Andrew, were involved in the confrontation with English after the Tyner game last week, made his “requests” known:
1) Immediately fire Rodney English as the boys head basketball coach
2) Relocate him immediately to teach at another institution. (His presence as a teacher still sends a clear message that the PREDATOR is lurking to those that have been affected by him.)
3) Conduct a thorough investigation into Principal Gail Chuy’s seemingly complicit nature and silence of any allegations that was brought to her.
4) Public apology from Rodney English and the East Hamilton School administrators to my son and family.
5) If your intentions are not to fire or remove Rodney English and allow him to continue his reign of terror that issue a hardship that my son can transfer to Cleveland High School this year and write a recommendation to the TSSAA to allow him to finish out the season playing for Cleveland High School.
Williams was to have met with Johnson on Thursday afternoon.
East Hamilton girls 77, Van Buren County 37: The explosive first quarter propelled the Lady Canes to the single-game scoring record in the program’s nine-year history.
The old record was 76 points against East Ridge on Feb. 17, 2011 in a 62-point victory when the school competed in District 6-2A.
“Obviously, it was a drop in competition, and that’s nothing against Van Buren County,” East Hamilton coach Hunter Gremore said in a telephone interview. “But Bradley Central is at a different level. Our energy and attitudes were on a different level tonight. We didn’t play selfishly and we shared the ball.
“I told the girls it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, if you play with that type energy and attitude, good things will happen.”
That was the case Thursday, for sure.
East Hamilton (20-3) had 53 points at halftime, and that allowed all 12 players to have playing time. Eight players scored.
What created the uptick in the Lady Canes’ performance? It was something Gremore took away from his players -- locker room privileges.
“(Wednesday) I kicked them out of the locker room,” Gremore said. “I made them take all their stuff out and that made them mad. I locked the door and we went through practice. In tonight’s game, we played in practice uniforms, not our nice game uniforms.
“Honestly, I think they got too comfortable. They thought they could make mistakes and still win. I told them they couldn’t do that. I wanted them to feel uncomfortable all week and they responded really great tonight.”
Earlier this season, East Hamilton Alma Bryant (Alabama), 75-54, in a Christmas tournament in Panama City Beach, Florida, a tourney the Lady Canes eventually won.
Sophomore DeZah Lacy scored a team-high 18 points, all coming on six 3s. She made five 3-pointers in the 32-point first quarter.
Madison Hayes, another sophomore, tossed in 17 points that included two 3s. Senior Maleiah Moon added 13 points while junior Kaiyanna Suttles and eighth-grader McKenna Hayes, Madison’s sister, each finished with nine.
The Lady Canes will host Walker Valley on Friday.
“It’s a huge game for us,” Gremore said. “What we did tonight has to carry over to the Walker Valley game, but we’ll be hard-pressed to shoot like we did against Van Buren. We have four district games left (Walker Valley, Ooltewah, McMinn County and Cleveland and we need to win them to be in the best possible for the district tournament.”
Van Buren County boys 80, East Hamilton 63: The Hurricanes ran into a buzz saw in Van Buren’s Caden Mills, a Tennessee Tech signee, who erupted for a game-high 40 points. Mills had double-figure scoring in each quarter except the fourth.
Senior Justin Dozier paced East Hamilton with 22 points. Cam Montgomery finished with 15 points and Van Wilson tossed in 11.
Sophomore Andrew Williams, who was disciplined for reasons not related to Friday’s incident, missed his second straight game, as did DaVae Hughley, a senior who was ejected from the Tyner contest due to two technical fouls.
The 6-foot-4 Hughley should be in the Canes’ lineup tonight against Walker Valley.
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)